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he who did so was "in danger of the Council." The royal decree
controlled the operations of the Spirit ; the royal hand was im-
piously laid on the ark. Presbyteries were far, indeed, from what
they had been, and General Assemblies were no longer free and
open Parliaments. On the other side the position of the Catholics
was practically desperate. Our historians never say much on that
head : the imprisonments of Errol and Huntly, the self-exile of
Angus, who died abroad, are briefly touched upon, but we hear
nothing of the distresses of the conscientious Catholics in general.
Scotland owed her all but universal Protestantism to persecution ;
and, in Father Forbes Leith's " Narratives of Scottish Catholics," we
learn how the persecution was conducted. Father Abercromby,
writing on July i, 1602, says, "All are now compelled with tears to
submit to the king, and to the law passed by his authority, the
alternative being for the rich either exile or the loss of all their
goods, which for the sake of their wives and children they will not
risk ; and for the poor, if they refuse obedience, to be turned adrift
by their lords from the lands they cultivate."**^ , . . We have
seen, in an earlier part of this volume, that Mary of Guise deplored
the insecure and brief tenures of the small farmers ; both she
and Queen Mary tried, by their personal influence, to protect poor
tenants. Now they were evicted merely for their religion if they
were Catholics, but all these persecutions are glided over noise-
lessly by historians.

The queen, Anne of Denmark, had been converted, secretly,
to the old faith, writes Father MacQuhirrie, S.J., in 1601; the


conversion, it seems, was of 1598. In 1605, Father James
Seton describes the Earl of DunfermHne, the practical governor
of Scotland, as a secret Catholic, though publicly professing
Presbyterianism. Otherwise he was an upright man, as the times
permitted, and we have seen that he successfully resisted an
injustice of the king towards Mr Robert Bruce. He signed the
Confession of Faith, though he came to Catholic confession and
communion. John Colville, the old agent of the Lords of the
Ruthven Raid, and the ally of Bothwell, and the spy of Cecil,
having fallen into poverty, became a Catholic, went to Rome, saw
the Pope, and took money from him. Probably he changed his
creed, as Dunfermline concealed his own, merely for worldly reasons.
In 1605 Father Creighton regretted that, in Scotland, Catholics
could not, as in England, escape from going to Protestant churches
on condition of paying fines. " The power of the heretical ministers
is so great that they can compel every one to subscribe their false
confession of faith, attend their sermons, and take the profane
supper of the Calvinist rite, or else lose all his goods, and go into
banishment." The process was that the constant moderator nosed
out a Catholic, cited him to conform, had him excommunicated if
he refused, and, forty days later, charged with treason, confiscated,
and banished. ^^ The new mounted police arrested Catholics, as
they arrested Border reivers. One Catholic noble, unnamed,
evaded the Kirk by pretending to have broken his leg by a fall
from horseback, in presence of a surgeon and a notary ! By culti-
vating a limp he evaded excommunication for a whole year.
Balmerino, like Dunfermline, escaped by feigning Presbyterianism.
There were but three or four priests left in Scotland, and by this
drastic, unrelenting persecution, unhasting and unresting, the
country was drilled into almost uniform conformity and systematic
hypocrisy. All Catholics had to choose between loss of lands and
goods and native country, or loss of conscience and honour. Per-
haps no persecution was ever so successful. No showy martyrdoms,
with one exception, occurred, but there was an unceasing strain on
conscience and belief.

We have here dwelt mainly on ecclesiastical affairs as these
affected the whole course of history. But Parliament, in 1606-08,
was busy with the affairs of the lawless Earl of Orkney, the equally
lawless Lord Maxwell, with the condition of the Borders, and with
the trial and forfeiture of Logan of Restalrig (died July 1606),


for his alleged share in the Gowrie conspiracy. Concerning

the Orkneys, the Highlands, the Borders, and Maxwell, an

account is given later, in a separate chapter, while the complex
business of Restalrig is discussed in Appendix B.

Letter of Ogilvie of Pourie to the King, i6oi.

(Hatfield MS. 90, vol. cxxxvi. fol. 136.)

Endorsed : Fury Ogleby 160 1.

It will plears yo' M. Vnderstand

That cuming out of Dumfermling to Edinbru to home satisfeit yo'' M. desyr and
finding my selft" persewit & forst by y'' Magistratis and vth"^ in yo"" M. name I
culd do no les then escheu the first furie and appeale with y^ Macedonian suldart
A Phillippo male consulto et {sic) Philippum bene consultum Therof I craue yo'" M.
pardon, thus absenting my selff for no offence that ever I committed aynest yo""
M. in or without the cuntrey bot for safetie of my Lyffe as ane beast but reason
wold do. I am most sorrie for yo"" M. reputacionis cause that vther princes
sould heer of yo"" M. creuell Dealing aganest me hawing ment so weill at yo'' M.
handis therof they can beare me witnes, for so sail yo'' M. be thocht of, conforme
as yo"" enemies head informit, at least ane ongrate prince, and I ane manifast liar
qnha hes informit thame so weill of yo'" M. I hoip that yo'' M. will wse my pour
wyffe and bairnes according to yo"^ wonted clemencie. And for my selff iff I can
not Hue in the cuntrey, I will accept of the croce that god layis on me for my sinis
agnest his heavenlie M. And cum cristo fugere ex vna civitate in aliam it is that
god sufferis pipell to be scurged inderectlie & thairof castis y'' trew scorge in the
fyre. Take hearte ser and begine anes to think weill of thame quha lufifis yo"" M.
honor & standing. And sence God hes beine so manie tymes so mercifull to zow.
Be not cruell w^ yo' M. Debtoris iff zou wold not be cossin wi' that ewell (?) Debtor
of the evangell in perpetuall prison. As for that yo"^ M. wold lay agaynest me I
nevir had on vse ony commission of yo"" Ma*''^ to ony forrant prince in my Lyffe,
nather in Flaunders France nor Spaine, Not witstanding all yo'' M. Intelligenrs
in the contrar q^^ ar fals & cunterfeit as I salbe aible to prove. I have delt and
beine delt with indeid, but alwayis in matteris that consernit yo"" M. standing and
the Weill of yo'' M. cuntrey Zet for satisfaction of yo"" Majestie hawinge suretie of
my lyffe and heritage I am content to enter in Vard, and say q^sumever yo"" M.
sail coiTiand me Or vtherwayes to go presentlie out of the cuntrey, for if my Lord
Simple past to Spaine w* zo'' M. commission, his Instructions bearing the same
headis q''of I wes thocht to haue delt q*- satisfaction, can my Varding be to
Ingland q^ incistis in no wayis agenest me, finding me Innocent of all such
calumnies Layd agnest me at my being in London, and iff zour M. suld mislyke
more of my cuming throgh Ingland then dealing in Spaine, as sum curious pipell
dois imagen, sens zo'' M. was of oppinions that I suld have bene tane by my
owne advyss zo'' M., giff I durst say it, dois me Wrong for I beare the guide will
and culd do yo'' M. better service there then mony subiectis yo'' M. hes And iff
vthers be reveilit vpon conisouh accussit of the same thingis And more suspect by
Ingland nor I, q* can it harme zo"^ M. or offend Ingland to grant me the lyke
benefeit. And iff it be bot my Lyffe as appearis socht Inderectlie, Prestat sapore
alieno exenipto, Nathur can yo'' M. justlie blame to be als diligent in saiffing my

NOTES. 497

lyffe as vthers ar cunning and subteill in crawing my sackless bluid. As for geer
I haue non And Lyttil Land yet the hous is so myne And so mony honest men
cwme of it that I traist that zo"" M. will not sie it perish alto"^ all the foresaidis I
am becwme throw my trwbles & gryte travell so ill at eas and debilitat that only
Warding war sufficient to make my pwre unprovydit barnes fatherles, if non of
thar may mowe yo'' M. to Justice and petie I must remit my cause to God and
seik to so serve sum vther prince as I mynd to die rather a confessor nor a
martire. One thing may I justlie say with the freir that was put in the gallies for
saiing of thre or fowr messes everie day that I am punished per auer facto troppo
ben. Speik zo"" M. q* eveill zou pleas of me I will alwayis think & speik weill of
zo"" M. Althogh by this reason as Plutark tellis the teale I must neids be a knaiff
Aither becaus zo'' M. quha is good speikis evill of me or than iff zo'' M. be not giude
becaus I speik giude of ane evill man Bot sir kaik is no scheiris (?) I luike for
better of zo"" M. And kissing zo"^ M. princlie handis with all deutifull humilitie I
pray the eternall God to preserwe zo"" M. and oppine zo"" eisor they my breist that
yo'' M. may sie as Simonius desyrit The Invard cogitacionis of my trewe hart.
Raptim 1601.


^ Bruce, Correspondence of James VI. Camden Society, 1S61, xxv., xxviii.
80, 81.

2 Hailes, Secret Correspondence of Cecil, 1766.

3 Bruce, 81, 84.

■* Pitcaim, ii. 408, 409.
® Thorpe, ii. 796, 798.

^ Thorpe, ii. 799. See a singular letter from Pourie to James at the end of
this chapter. It is from the Cecil Papers, Hatfield MSS.
■^ Calderwood, vi. 146-148, 153-156.

^ Remarks on the History of Scotland, pp. 254-264 ; 1773.
9 Thorpe, ii. 815.
" Thorpe, ii. 814.
^1 Border Papers, ii. 523.

^^ Bruce, Correspondence of James VI. and Cecil, pp. 30-38.
13 Privy Council Register, vi. 581, 582.
^'* Restalrig and the Gowrie Conspiracy. Appendix B.
15 Privy Council Register, vii. xiii. xxi.
'^ Nugce Antiquse, i. 1 81, 1 82.
1" Act Pari. Scot., iv. 262-276.
IS Privy Council Register, vii. 13, 14.
^9 James Melville, 574.
^ Privy Council Register, vii. 474, 475.
21 Act Pari. Scot., iii. 541.

^ James Melville, 570-626 ; Register, Privy Council, vii. 478 486.
23 Melville, p. 596.
"^ Melville, p. 625.

2' Register, Privy Council, vii, 480-486.
VOL. II. 2 I

498 NOTES.

"^ Forbes's Records touching the Estate of the Kirk, 501, 502, note (Wodrow
Society) ; Spottiswoode, iii. 174, 1 75.

^ Register, Privy Council, vii. 492, 497, and notes; Forbes, 546, 551.

^ Calderwood, vi. 4S5-495.

^^ Melros Papers, Lords of Council to James, i. p. 15 ; Act Pari. Scot., iv. 2S0.

^° Gardiner, i. 316 (1900) ; Melville, p. 640.

2' Melville, 679.

^- Calderwood, vi. 608.

^^ Original Letters, edited by Mr Botfield, Bannatyne Club, vol. i. pp. 70-71.

34 Privy Council Register, vii. 299-302.

35 Privy Council Register, vii. 347-349-

36 Privy Council Register, vii. 432, note.

^ Privy Council Register, viii. 20, 50S-510.
^ Privj- Council Register, viii. 844.

^ Privy Council Register, viii, 473-475, notes ; Calderwood, vii. 94 - 103 ;
Spottiswoode, iii. 205-208.
■*° Forbes Leith, 269, note I.
^ Forbes Leith, 284, 28^.




If the nations are happy which have no constitutional history, then
Scotland was fortunate between the establishment of Episcopacy, in
1610, and James's later interferences with the old Presbyterian forms
of public worship. There were, of course, feuds, as we have just
shown, and there were Highland disturbances, but the affairs of the
Celtic part of the kingdom must be treated of in a separate chapter.
There were also occasional troubles with a recalcitrant preacher,
such as our historian, Calderwood himself. But the centre of affairs
was now London, where there was much irritation against James's
Scottish followers, and where a Scottish favourite, Ker, Earl of
Somerset, involved him in circumstances still obscure, but, to an
unascertained „ extent, discreditable. This perplexed matter, how-
ever, is of merely personal interest, and forms no part of the history
of Scotland. James's desire for a regular, thorough, incorporating
union of the countries, such as Major had longed for before the
Reformation, such as Henderson dreamed of after the fall of
Cardinal Beaton (see Chapter II.), was creditable to the king, and
to Bacon who supported him. But the proposal broke down
against the jealousies, commercial, ecclesiastical, and social, of the
two nations. The Union of 1707 was almost equally unpopular
with Highland and Lowland Jacobites, and with Whig or Hano-
verian Scottish earls, in 1745, after forty years of experience of the
measure. We may guess, then, how little chance an Act of Union
had in passing, when James was a new king in England, and when
ballads against the Scottish followers were sung in London streets.
James had recommended the Union to Parliament in March 1604,


when he had not sat for a year on the English throne. Bodies of
commissioners for each nation were appointed in the summer of the
year, and met in October, at Westminster, while James, of his own
will and fantasy, crowned himself with the title of " King of Great
Britain." "This some of both kingdoms took ill," says Spottis-
woode, nor did the Borderers like to have the name of " the
Borders " abolished, with all the old Border laws (they were
printed, after the Forty-Five, by a bishop of Carlisle). The
garrisons of Berwick and Carlisle were dismissed, orders were given
to destroy the Border keeps, and turn their iron gates into plough-
shares.^ The orders cannot have been carried out, to judge by the
numerous keeps and fortalices still standing on either side of the

Meanwhile Bacon and the famed Tam o' the Cowgate, the King's
Advocate and founder of the Haddington family, drew up a report
for the Union Commissioners. The articles are given by Spottis-
woode.- In the rules for free-trade between the two countries, the
staples of England — wool, hides, sheep, cattle, leather, and linen
yarn — were excepted, and the rights of sea-fishing were to remain
restricted as of yore. Persons in each country born after James's
accession were to be entitled to equal privileges of all kinds on
either side of the Border. These were the Post-nati ; but as to the
Ante-nati, persons born before the Union of the Crowns, great
difficulties arose, as the Scots who followed the king were only too
likely, by the kindly Scottish usage, to be thrust into the best
English posts and dignities. James, by prerogative, could
naturalise any one, and even give him office under the Crown. He
declared, however, that he would not put any Scot (not yet natural-
ised) into a Crown office, nor any Englishman into a Scottish
Crown office. But he would not allow his power of doing so by
prerogative to be restricted by a clause in the Act. The English
House of Commons was as sceptical about the king's promise
as Mr Robert Bruce had been about his statements in the
Gowrie case, and James's promises, when at home, had been
punctually broken. In November 21, 1606, and later, strong
commercial opposition to the scheme of Union broke forth, and
Bacon's eloquence in favour of the Bill was "in the right, but too
soon." Order was transgressed by indignant and sarcastic English
orators, and the Scottish Privy Council, when they heard of the
insults, protested that they, for their part, were in no hurry to be


blended with a country which disdained them.^ Finally, nothing
but the " abolition of all memory of hostility, and the repression of
occasions of disorder," was recorded. Border prisoners, usually
taken on charges of raiding and violence, were to be tried in their
own countries. The case of the Post-nati was at last settled by a
suit, in 1608, raised in the name of Richard Colvin, a child born in
Scotland the third year of James's tenure of the English Crown.
Bacon argued that, to prove the child an alien, and incapable of
holding land, say, in Shoreditch, it was necessary to prove that he
owned allegiance to a foreign prince. It was decided that Colvin
and all Post-nati were natural-born subjects of the king of England,
and "enabled to purchase and have freehold and inheritance of
lands in England, and to bring real actions for the same in Eng-
land." The case fills nearly four hundred columns in the State
Trials.* The Chancellor and twelve judges decided this matter by
a majority of eleven to two votes.

A topic of keen interest to the politicians of the daj', but of little
moment in national history, was the affair of Balmerino. This
gentleman, originally known as James Elphinstone of Innernauchty,
and after 1604 as Lord Balmerino, had become a judge in 1587,
and was one of the Board of Treasury Control styled " the Octa-
vians " in the agitated year 1596. In 1598 he was made Secretary,
holding the important post so long possessed by Maitland of Leth-
ington. In 1598 and 1599, as we have already seen, there were
some tentative traffickings between James and Rome, and a letter
signed by James, and addressing the Pope as " Father," " blessed,"
and so on, arrived at the hands of his Holiness. In September
1608 a summons to England reached Balmerino, and this presaged
the close of his career in disgrace. The cause was this — James,
ever since 1604, had been, reluctantly or not, a persecutor of
Puritans, Presbyterians, and Catholics. Nobody was to dwell in
his realm, as he had previously said, who was not of his own
religion or religions — Anglican in England, and, in Scotland, the
Presbyterianism of an auto-pope, if the term may be allowed.
James was not content with edicts. In 1607 he produced an anti-
papal work,"Triplici Nodo, Triplex Cuneus," defending the oaths of
allegiance to himself against Paul V. and Cardinal Bellarmine. The
Cardinal, writing as " Matthaeus Tortus," replied in 1608. James
was rebuked for his religious veerings, and especially for having long
ago written a polite letter to the Pope, Clement VIII., and another to


Cardinal Bellarmine, asking that a hat might be given to his subject,
Chisholme, Bishop of Vaison. At that time (159S-99) the exist-
ence of a Scottish cardinal, to reply to the attacks of English
Catholic supporters of the Infanta, would have been useful to James.
He was never a true-blue Protestant. He did not think that the
Pope was the Beast ; and he revered as his mother Church the
Church of Rome. He did not regard her as the Scarlet Woman
sitting on the Seven Hills, "as if ane," quoth Andrew Fairservice,
"was na braid eneugh for her auld hurdies." But, since 1605, the
Gunpowder Plot, and the need of some victim to throw to the
preachers, had modified the very proper and historically correct
sentiments of the king. Now Cardinal Bellmarine recalled the
polite letter of James to the Pope, in his book replying to the
" Triplex Cuneus." Balmerino, then Elphinstone, had been Secretary
in 1598, and Balmerino was called to court to explain how the
polite letter, signed by James, had been sent to the pontiff.

Balmerino met James, Archbishop Spottiswoode, Dunbar, and
other important Scottish officials, at Royston. There is no doubt
that Spottiswoode was intriguing against the secular influence of
Balmerino. That statesman, after his disgrace, left a private
memoir with his own account of the whole affair. The gist may be
given in his own words, " A plot is secretly contrived that I shall be
brought to a confession [oral] of it," (that is, of fraudulently inducing
James to sign a letter to the Pope written by Elphinston) " his
majesty to disallow it . . . and consequently, my undoing."^
Balmerino denied that, in this letter, James had promised either to
turn Catholic (as the report went) or, when King of England, to
tolerate Catholics. Here he told the truth, as the Pope's reply to
the letter attributed to James suffices to prove. But Balmerino
confessed the part as to procuring a cardinal's hat for a Scottish
subject. Sir Alexander Hay (who had been appointed his adjunct
in the Scottish secretaryship) induced him to confess this
much, "the simple truth." Balmerino admitted that he himself
had written, or caused Sir Edward Drummond to write, the
ordinary forms of address. Pater, and so forth, into the letter
which, in 1598, James had signed. Sir Alexander Hay was a
witness of a repetition of this confession. Balmerino was then
ordered under arrest, though he was unaware of it, and was
told to make his confession in writing. He now realised that his
ruin was intended — he had thought that his previous oral admis-


sions were only for the king's private satisfaction. He asked for
delay, and for time to procure the evidence of Sir Edward Drummond,
who had been with him in 1598. Balmerino was next examined
before the English Privy Council, just as Andrew Melville had
been. He extracted from them the admission that they could not
judge him, that he must be tried before '■ his ordinary judge."
They could not entangle him, he says, and Lord Balfour ot
Burleigh was sent to him to advise a confession entirely exculpating
the king, with assurance that his life and estate should not be
imperilled. Balmerino tried, meanwhile, to make terms with
Dunbar. " If he desired Restalrig, he should have it for the price
I bought it." In fact, Balmerino had bought Restalrig from the
impoverished Logan in 1605 ; and, when Logan died in July 1606,
Balmerino still owed eighteen thousand marks of the price, as
appears from Logan's will. Dunbar himself also owed to Logan's
estate fifteen thousand marks of the purchase money of the
property of Flemington, which he escaped paying, through the
forfeiture of Logan's heir in 1609.^ Dunbar was apparently pleased
by Balmerino's offers, and Balmerino thought that his life and
lands were now secure if he exonerated James from the letter to
the Pope. Consequently he "put himself in James's will," that is.
would not defend himself. He declared that the Latin letter to the
Pope was placed, among others, before James, that the king signed
the heap, and that Drummond wrote in terms of address to the Pope
as Pater, and the rest, at the beginning and end of the epistle.
Balmerino also confessed that, to the ambassador of Elizabeth, he
had denied all the facts, and had made Drummond corroborate his
denial. Ehzabeth had probably learned the truth through the
Master of Gray, who corresponded both with Cecil and with the
Roman court, as we have already shown (p. 440).

Having secured these formal confessions from Balmerino, Salis-
bury (Robert Cecil) made them the basis of a charge of high treason,
also of forgery of James's handwriting. Balmerino was wheedled
into signing this document charging him with treason on the under-
standing that it was merely for the king's personal satisfaction.
Being arraigned before, and scolded by the Council, he was again
persuaded not to defend himself James is said to have been
skulking behind the arras, or in some Ear of Dionysius, while his
English sycophants railed at his Scottish minister. Balmerino was
removed from the Council and "warded" at Falkland. He was


then tried and convicted, merely on his own confession, at St
Andrews, still abstaining from self-defence, in the king's interest,
and in the behef that his life and lands were secure. But he was
kept in close captivity, through the treachery of Dunbar and Sir
Alexander Hay, "As for others of our nation who have little regard
wherefore I suffer at Englishmen's hands, God forgive them ! "
His country, he says, is " miserable, coming in a vile servitude, the
foresight whereof is all my wrack." Thus, in Balmerino's opinion,
he was put at by Spottiswoode and Dunbar, because he was too
good a " Scottisman," and opposed the " servitude " of his country.
Balmerino died in 1612.'''

Sir Alexander Hay, the blackest of traitors except Dunbar,
if we accept Balmerino's view, was now left alone in the Scottish
secretaryship. For a considerable time there is nothing of interest
to record in domestic affairs, setting aside the reduction of the
Borders and the Highlands. There were official changes and
experiments in the control of finance, and Mr Archibald Primrose,
writer, with his son James, now clerk of the Council, became men
of official importance.^ The death of Dunbar (January 29, 161 1)
caused many shiftings in State offices, and Calderwood fires the
salute of a most unseemly scandal over the dead statesman's grave.
Dunbar was, perhaps, rather more unscrupulous than most public
men of his age, but he was a person of great energy and of con-

Online LibraryAndrew LangA history of Scotland from the Roman occupation (Volume 2) → online text (page 52 of 60)